Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Back From the Gluten-Free & Allergen-Free EXPO in Chicago

What a weekend!

A pizza party by Schar at D’Agostino’s, meeting up with some of my favorite bloggers, two full days of signing books… there was barely time to visit all of the vendors with their new goodies. But I did manage to sneak away from the author table every now and then and fight my way through the crowds for samples. While many samples needed to be eaten on the spot (such as Crave Bakery’s totally awesome brownies), I did manage to bring a few things home with me:

Luckily I sold out of books, so there was plenty of room in my suitcase!

Of course, everything was gluten-free, and I was thrilled to find that most vendors are now making more and more products top-8 allergen-free. There was even a nut-free zone so that families with nut allergies could walk through that section of the EXPO without concern. Kudos to the GFAF Expo team for doing that!

I haven’t tried everything yet, but of what I have tried, the Way Better snacks get a big thumbs up from me! And of course, the Enjoy Life snack mix and Pamela’s Brownies are ongoing faves.

I was very excited to sample Enjoy Life’s new Decadent Bars. Unfortunately, I found them to be way too sweet; I guess the word “decadent” should have clued me in. Nevertheless, the new bars – like all of Enjoy Life’s products – are top-8 allergen-free.

Of the goodies that I sampled or saw while there, these were some of my favorites:

Nessalla’s Kombucha is a fermented tea; I would have been drinking it all day long if I could have. Gludles pasta (contains eggs) is among the best pasta I have ever tried; it tastes just like homemade pasta.

There are a few items of special note, that I will be writing more about later:

GF Harvest was there with their Gluten Free Oats. These oats are grown from the start to be gluten-free. They were sampling the Canyon Oats granola, which I may already be addicted to (and have already ordered a large bag from amazon of). They also gave me some oatmeal in a cup, which I had for breakfast on Sunday. While I found the oatmeal in the cup to be too sweet, I love the concept of oatmeal to take on the go. I’m looking forward to trying the plain oatmeal (which I have also already ordered from amazon).

I am (still) in search of a great wheat-free and soy-free shampoo and conditioner. I am tired of being itchy after a shower, and I am tired of shampoos that make my hair feel like straw. I was very excited to find NYR Organic, and purchased some hair care products to try. (I will be sure to let you know what I think after I try it.)

Nada Bits gave me some tortilla crumb chips to take home and create with. I tasted some while there – there are both fruit flavored varieties for baking with and plain varieties for cooking with:

The food coloring is all natural (yeah!) Perhaps I’ll try a tortilla streusel topping. What do you think?

And lastly, chocolate. I happened to venture by the blogger booth (yes, there was a very cool area for bloggers to strut their stuff) at the end of the day Sunday where vendors were giving product to bloggers. Despite the fact that most of the author’s were also bloggers, we were at opposite ends of the EXPO. I begged (yes, I really begged) for these Pascha Organic chocolate bars:

They are top-8 free and gluten-free. I will definitely tell you more about these after I try them. You may be surprised that they even made it home. (They wouldn’t have if they weren’t in my checked suitcase, as my plane sat on the runway for three hours waiting to take off.)

But – by far – they best part of the EXPO was hanging with friends and blogging buddies:

That's Cindy Dent Gordon, a.k.a. Vegetarian Mamma above

and Keeley McGuire who blogs about allergy-friendly lunchboxes!

More about the authors and their books in another post coming soon!


Peggy said...

I wish I could have been there!

Alisa said...

Now that is some awesome loot! Congrats on the book success - selling out is no easy feat!

Colette said...

Peggy, we missed you!

Alisa, thank you! yes, great treats!

cindy said...

Thanks for the love!! I had a great time!! :)